“See, I have refined you, though not as silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.”
Is. 48:10 NIV
Have you ever gone through, or maybe you’re going through, some blazing trial of misery and suffering?
Yeah, me, too.
Did you ever squirm and resist? Yell and scream and complain?
Yeah, me, too.
And maybe you’ve said, “Lord, it’s too hot in the furnace! I want out!”
Yeah, me, too.
See, the thing is, God used the furnace of affliction to refine His people Israel and He still uses it for His children today.
A condensed definition of the refining process means to take away imperfections. It is a process necessary to make a substance pure or free from impurities. One method of accomplishing this is by placing raw material in a blast furnace and subjecting it to high heat.
Other materials are added in order to release the impurities. As the temperature is turned up, the refuse or waste material is formed and comes to the surface. This waste matter, or dross, must be skimmed off the top.
Then, further purifying must take place in order for the raw material to be totally pure. Purity is of the utmost importance if the material is to be strong and useful.
It’s all part of His process to make sure we reflect His glory and to fashion us into the likeness of Jesus. It is not His intent to destroy us but to test us, refine us, and purify us.
God is more interested in our character than in our comfort.
Even when we yell, “Lord, it’s too hot in the furnace!”
Our purity is of the utmost importance to God. Purity is produced after we’ve been in the fire of the crucible long enough for the dross of life to burn away, until God sees that we are pure enough to be used by Him.
The blaze may burn hotter than hot and the flames may lap up around us, but Jesus is always with us in the furnace, just as He was with the three amigos (Dan. 4:19-30), and they came out unscathed.
It may be painful and uncomfortable for a time, but it’s our transformation God desires.
And that we reflect His glory.
God says, “For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.” (Is. 48:11 ESV)
The Lord says to us…
“I have burned away those things that have stood in the way of your serving Me with your whole heart. You cannot be a pure, strong, moldable substance in My loving hands if there are any impurities within you. You would crack and break.
“I give you that holy fire to continually burn within you so that you will not forget that I Am The Potter, and you are the clay.”
I once heard a potter talk about the clay he uses. He throws his clay into the shape he desires, and then he places it into the fire.
In order to know when the vessel is finished, he pulls it out of the fire and flicks it with his finger. If the vessel sings, as he called it, it is ready. If it doesn’t, he must put it back and leave it in until it does sing.
I’ll bet the three amigos were singing in the fiery furnace when Jesus showed up.
Hmmm…if we dare to be the pure, refined, strong, and useful vessel God desires, maybe we should sing more in the fire!
May your fiery trial never cling to you and may you never walk through it alone…Lynn